Being Australian, I could never understand the American tipping system, I grew up with the payment for service included in the purchase price. If you did not like the service, then you would buy elsewhere and the business would suffer.
I visited America (I particularly remember New York) on business with all expenses paid for by the company but could not bring myself to tip when the service was crap. I had an argument in a NY hotel over a tip and made it clear to the guy I was happy to tip when the service was good but his attitude sucked enough I was happy to argue all day. I then gave the restaurant a king sized tip for a great meal just to put home I was not stingy and I do understand how it works. I got great service for the rest of the trip from the restaurant.
I travel through the poorer parts of Asia and have observed that tourists tipping and in particular over tipping is a huge problem. With tourists throwing away money comes a flood of beggars and the trolls who manage the begging making sure the people on the street cannot escape exploitation. The rich need to be more aware of the poor ethics of gifts of money and the exploitation that feeds off those gifts.
I have a small yacht which has been used in most protected waters in Australia's East Coast. We use marinas because we have very limited capacity so after about 5 days out, its time to find a berth and refresh.
Perhaps Australia is different but my modest yacht has been welcomed at every marina that we have stopped at. We pay our dock fee of about $50 a night (some are less) buy our ice and use the laundry.
I have motored into places like Hamilton Island when conditions have resulted in larger yachts cancelling and staying in the anchorage. After the first visit (when the dock hands check your boat handling skills), I was left to my own because they were happy I would not create any issues. Indeed one time when they were particularly full they directed me to berth under the bow of a huge motor cruiser, I was latter told that nobody was allowed near the big yacht because the dock hands were so worried about anyone touching the big yacht, yet they let me in under her bow (I have the photo to prove it).
After a few days we are seldom clean and organised, the boat is often salt encrusted and there are a few stains on the decks to prove past adventures, I doubt the poor appearance influences the dock hands opinions. Appearance of our yacht quickly improves after a few hours at the dock. At times things change and we have needed to move to help accommodate a larger boat or position a boat so it can leave unassisted in the night. We have always been happy to do these things which keeps the work of the marina staff as easy as possible.
Compared to larger yachts we certainly don't spend as much money at the marina, we don't tip and we have always been welcomed. I do appreciate the marina staff here are excellent boatmen who seem to appreciate someone who takes reasonable direction and likewise knows when to say "thankyou I am fine docking my boat from here". That is not just because I don't need their help, I know they are busy and need to get on with other stuff.
So in Australia we don't tip and we get pretty good service. I am always polite and have learnt not to hurry and take the lead on work pace from the dock hands.
When I have had a good time, I have handed the folks (very discretely) a few beers for their after work drink. I have been known to sit down with them in the evening for a beer and tell few lies.
I like other's comments regarding you get what you give. Be polite relaxed and competent, listen to their instructions and stay calm and things are generally good. As for being cheap, no I could afford a much bigger yacht but then I would probably do less sailing. I could spend more at the marina but it would not make anyone wealthy. And a smile might not cost much, its priceless, but it is not cheap.
Last edited by INMA; 12-12-2011 at 09:04 PM.